This week marked the start of the “Advancing Public Health Leadership in Times of Crisis Program,” which will be conducted through the summer to equip public health leaders with tools respond to Puerto Rico’s on-going fiscal, economic and social crisis, organizers said.
“Contrary to popular belief, in a time of crisis and uncertainty, there are many tools at the disposal of leaders who want to have a positive impact on the public’s health,” said María Levis, CEO of Impactivo, the developers of the program.
The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has partnered with Rutgers School of Public Health and the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health to develop the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded public health training center, which set forth on this initiative to address a significant local need.
“Entrepreneurs, visionaries, and innovators are key players in the social transformation that Puerto Rico needs to achieve an optimal social and economic welfare in times of crisis. Values such as commitment, passion, loyalty, and service are essential to establish equality and social justice in today’s Puerto Rico,” said José Capriles, who is a principal investigator and leader for the local performance site.
The Region 2 Public Health Training Center selected Impactivo Consulting, which has in-depth knowledge and experience in both public health leadership nationwide and Puerto Rico’s health sector, to provide the training with funding provided by the HRSA. Impactivo is working hand-in-hand with the partner organizations to develop a tailored program for the island’s health leaders.
The program’s 25 participants were selected through a competitive process and represent a mix of public and private health sector leaders.
In addition to studying public health concepts and critical problem-solving skills, the highlight of this week’s opening session was a panel featuring former Puerto Rico Health Department Secretaries Johnny Rullán and Lorenzo González, who spoke of their personal journeys as public health leaders and offered their insights on the system and alternatives for improving health on the island.
Both emphasized the importance of systems-thinking, data-driven decision-making and public service.